sunderland

Consett suffer first pre-season defeat to slick Sunderland youngsters

Consett tasted defeat for the first time in pre-season tonight, going down 3-1 to an impressive Sunderland XI in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Academy of Light.

Terry Mitchell’s team were on the ropes for most of the first half as they struggled to cope with the sharp, hungry Black Cats side, which was a mixture of U18s/U23s.

They fell behind after 12 minutes, when a through ball from midfield left a striker with just Consett keeper Kyle Hayes to beat, and he obliged.

Hayes made a string of saves as Sunderland’s passing and movement cut the Steelmen open, but there was nothing he could do about the second goal on the half-hour, as the No 11 cut in from the left and fired home.

Things got even worse on 33 minutes, when a shot by the Sunderland No 8 from 25 yards took a wicked deflection off a defender and crept inside the left-hand post.

Consett had created little and struggled to keep the ball at times, but after making seven half-time changes, the second 45 minutes was a different story.

Dale Pearson rattled the post with a 25-yarder on 51 minutes, while Nick Allen’s header from a corner clipped the top of the bar.

This was a much-improved Consett performance, and they got their reward in the 73rd minute when Calvin Smith’s wonderful long pass from inside his own half found Colin Larkin.

The striker, who has just followed former teammate Stephen Callen from Sunderland RCA, produced a classy finish, dinking the ball past the keeper to make it 3-1, pictured top.

Larkin fired another chance into the side netting, Matty Slocombe blazed over and Carl Lawson flicked an effort just over the bar as Consett took the game to their hosts.

In the 84th minute Sunderland’s keeper made the save of the game, clawing away a header from Consett’s trialist striker which was heading for the top corner.

It finished 3-1 to Sunderland, but manager Terry Mitchell was happy with his team’s second-half display after a first half which ranked alongside their most disappointing since he came to the club.

Gary Welford